Acciona closes its module factory in Portugal

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Acciona has closed its solar panel manufacturing plant in Moura, Portugal as it was economically unviable in a competitive market dominated by Chinese manufacturers. The news will come as a blow to a European PV industry which has predicted a ‘solar renaissance’ in nations including Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

In a statement to pv magazine, a spokesperson for the company based in Madrid confirmed reports in the Portuguese press. The company communicated the decision to workers as well as national and local authorities, on Monday.

“From now on, a period of talks with the union representatives of the employees is opened, to define the concrete conditions in which their departure will take place,” said the company. “Acciona appreciates the climate of collaboration achieved in recent years with national and local authorities [and] the commitment shown by all employees of the plant, and regrets that the global photovoltaic context – there are practically no photovoltaic panel manufacturing plants in Europe – [forced] this decision, [which was] not expected when, in 2008, we started with this project.”

The company also said it had fully complied with all its commitments to national and local authorities, maintaining activity through two manufacturers who managed it consecutively. “The last of them announced on September 10, 2018 – seven days after the EU decided to eliminate tariffs on the import of panels from China – that [it had] concluded its activity in Moura and that it would transfer its production to plants in Asia,” the Acciona spokesperson added. The company in question was Chinese solar module manufacturer Jinko. “We have tried to negotiate the entry of a third technologist [company] over the past year, without any result. Given the evolution of the sector on a global scale, and in view of this, there has been no other option but to proceed with the closure of the plant.”

Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Negocios reported the factory project was started with an investment of €10 million euros and was one of the assets tied to construction of a 45 MW Solar Photovoltaic Plant of Amareleja, in the municipality of Moura.

“After having bought the company that had been created by the Chamber of Moura to build and manage the plant, Acciona built the factory and, within the framework of an agreement with the municipality, committed to keep it in operation for 10 years, or until 2018, and with more than 100 workers,” the report stated.